So, it looks like David Ortiz will be a little slower to return to the Sox. While Opening Day isn’t officially ruled out quite yet…it’s not exactly likely at this point. So, the immediate question is, what does all this mean?
Short term, you just deal with it. Napoli DH’s, and Carp plays at first more than you thought. It would probably happen for a couple weeks at some point during the season anyway. It’s just at the beginning now. Even long term, that’s probably the move. You hate to dig into your depth right out of the gate. But, the whole team was, in fact, built around depth. Every player on the roster is just above average. So, every player should be able to slide into another slot. This is where it’s handy that Ortiz is a DH. Anybody and everybody could be put there for a game. Isn’t that what teams are supposed to be moving towards anyway? Isn’t the pure DH a thing of the past? The DH spot is just a place to put a guy to rest a bit while not playing the field. Napoli one day. Ellsbury one day. Gomes one day. And so on.
The one thing that system is lacking is the David Ortiz presence. Which, I suppose, depends on how much presence he still has. Do opposing teams still fear him? Is he more protection for Pedroia than Middlebrooks will be? What about the clubhouse? Does he still drive the team? Is Pedroia’s nuttiness enough, when combined with Victorino’s exuberance?
Very rarely would the prospect of losing what I assume will be the clean-up hitter be such a non-issue with me. I guess I only put Ortiz at clean-up by default. This isn’t 2005 or 2006 Ortiz. This is a guy who is just a bit better than the guy who will bat third…or fifth. Maybe this depth thing will help out just the way it’s supposed to. Maybe this will be a glimpse of the future.
Or, maybe, Ortiz makes it moot by playing on April 1.